There is no doubt that businesses cannot cater to the every whim or need of every employee, but there are certainly things they can do to create a better working environment for certain groups of employees. Creating healthier and safer work environment is even more important for those groups who have historically been overlooked, such as female employees. Happy employees also tend to be hard-working employees. Here are three ways to help women be happier at work.
Praise rather than criticize
Gender stereotypes are not always accurate, but they do serve a valuable purpose. They often serve to act as a good “general rule of thumb.” While there are always going to be certain shades and nuances to every individual, as a general rule of thumb, women tend to perform better when offered praise rather than sharp criticism. Most people respond better to praise than criticism.
Create female support without segregation
Some women may do better with a female boss or mentor but other women thrive best under male support, leadership, and mentorship. Women are often much less likely to reach out and create connections for themselves or even promote themselves to superiors the same way as men will. This is why male mentorship remains an important component of female advancement. Women certainly need other women for support, but they often need men to help them truly advance since men are currently overwhelmingly in management roles at companies. It is important for businesses to not just assume that the greatest need women have in the workplace is a strong network of other women.
Give women a real and legitimate voice
Too many business leaders create a completely artificial environment to give themselves, the public, or other employees the illusion or impression that they are providing equal opportunities to men and women. In some cases, they grant certain titles to women without giving them the legitimate authority that would be automatically given to a man in the same position. They pad board seats with “token females” they know will simply acquiesce to the wishes of the men on the board without voicing any objections or putting up any kind of a struggle. They sometimes even hire a greater number of women than men, but allocate all supervisory or authoritative positions to men. Creating the illusion of equality is not the same thing as creating equality and women are not fooled. They know when they have a legitimate voice and when they do not. If you want to keep women happy, they need to have a genuine voice and a legitimate seat at the table.